Waiting for a Waterfall

If you’re into photography you sometimes wind up being a trespasser of sorts.  I mean you spend a lot of time meandering out and about, always with an eye to pleasing visual images.  And sometimes these potential pictures present themselves behind posted signs warning of prosecution for trespass.  Birds or trees or foggy sunrises, or waterfalls, which I’m particularly partial to.  Now in my photographic zeal I have to own up to a few hops over stonewalls, openings of private gates, and bendings of barbed wire.  (I do penance for this by supporting a bunch of natural preservation societies.  A bit of environmental rationalization, I suppose.)

Anyway, one spring morning while expanding my dog-walking venues, I heard some very obvious and pleasant stream sounds, not babbling – more like rushing and gurgling.  A bit further I could just glimpse from the road a coursing stream with many wandering waterfalls.  Couldn’t get a good view but from the sloping topography I knew there’d be some fine cascades.

Well the posted signs were pretty clear that further close-up inspection would not be welcome, but there was an owner address posted.  So once home I sent off a nice letter asking permission to photograph this beautiful property.  Long story short – didn’t hear back from the owner.  And while often passing by this property over time, I never trespassed.

But all good things come in time, they say.  A couple of years after mailing my letter I got an email from the owner asking if I was still interested.  The owner had his own good reasons for the delayed response and in the following spring we finally met and walked the property together.  As I had anticipated the property was magnificent -- like being transported to the heart of the Adirondacks.  The stream and waterfalls were wonderful and I was graciously given permission to photograph as much as I wished.  I’m purposefully not identifying the specific location since nobody wants to encourage trespassers … ;)

This image is one I particularly like. In waterfall parlance this is a segmented waterfall.  (Yes there are specific names for each type, depending upon whether or not the water is a vertical or sloping drop, maintains partial or complete contact with the bedrock, its force, the ratio of width to length, and other characteristics.)

The real fun of photographing waterfalls for me has to do with the texture of the moving water captured by the camera.  I always start with about one half second exposure and adjust to suit that particular composition.  For you camera buffs, start with a low ISO setting and consider using a neutral density filter.